Vikings fans are familiar with Alexander Ludwig for his role as Bjorn Ironside, the son of the series’ original protagonists, Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha. Ever since that Season 2 time-jump, Ludwig has played the older version of Bjorn on the History channel TV series. While Season 6 is still unfolding, the show is ending, and Ludwig is continuing to pursue his film career with a role in Bad Boys for Life.
Certainly the pace. You get on a show, you've got -- from my experience in Vikings, you're in Ireland in the elements, rain or shine you're out there. Cause they're not calling it. I think we've called it twice in my six years of shooting in Ireland. One was because of a hurricane. For the most part, we're making it out and we're going to do our scene and we've got three scenes in a day and lots of dialogue. And you've got to come prepared. I honestly think for an actor, working on a TV show is one of the greatest gifts possible. It's like a master class in acting. Because you just, you have to show up. There's no excuses, you've just got to make it.
Wow. Alexander Ludwig revealed that Vikings only called production twice, and it took a hurricane to stop it one of those times. And I thought Bjorn initially getting left out of that major scene in the latest Vikings episode was brutal! Television sounds intense, but Ludwig credits it with being a “master class” for acting.
It was clearly rough to film Vikings. Thus, I have an even more heightened appreciation for its cast and crew. Despite the conditions, Alexander Ludwig seems appreciative of what Vikings taught him. The rush and pressure to get things done was just one of the differences between doing Vikings and Bad Boys for Life. Ludwig continued, saying:
Conversely, on something like Bad Boys -- obviously, the same situation, you've still got to show up and all this. But you get so much more time to play, especially with an action comedy like Bad Boys. Because so much of the beauty of this film comes from the unexpected, and things that aren't written down to begin with. And they know that, Will [Smith] and Martin [Lawrence], they excel in that.
I am guessing there was not a lot of improvising while filming Vikings. Is that because of the tight production schedule? Based on what Alexander Ludwig is saying, there was not a lot of time to go with the flow. The strict schedule and weather conditions, among other things, made it tricky. Not a lot of time to focus on fan theories.
On the set of Vikings, there was not a lot of ability for Alexander Ludwig to try different takes on the King of Kattegat. When it came to Bad Boys for Life, there was more freedom for things to naturally unfurl. That does not mean everything improvised made the final cut, though. Ludwig said:
You never know what's going to make it. 90 percent of it I'd say doesn’t make it, but then that 10 percent that does can be freakin' beautiful and can change the game. ... In that sense, it's very liberating. Compared to Vikings, for me personally, Bad Boys is just a dream. To just have that time.
The extra time to let the scenes come together proved to be a dream for Alexander Ludwig. Time is not an element that Vikings gave him a lot of. Hence, Ludwig’s gratitude for having the ability to explore. Interestingly, Ludwig shares that only 10% of improv actually makes it into the final cut.
Alexander Ludwig clearly appreciates what his experience on Vikings and Bad Boys for Life gave to him. While he continues to pursue feature film work, he has more TV in his future. The actor has signed on to co-star with Arrow’s Stephen Amell in the upcoming wrestling drama, Heels.
Bad Boys for Life is now in theaters! New episodes of Vikings air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on History. The historical drama has been one of the shows airing new this winter.